School District of Lancaster Middle School Addresses Bed Bug Problem
Thursday, April 26, 2012

Bedbugs have been discovered at a Lancaster city middle school.

School District of Lancaster on Wednesday notified parents of Reynolds Middle School students that the insects had been found in "isolated areas" of the school.

SDL spokeswoman Kelly Burkholder said one bedbug was found on a Reynolds student April 17.

The school nurse examined the boy, and the district's facilities department did a walk-through of the school that evening.

The staff did not find any evidence of more bugs, she said.

On Tuesday, while the school was closed for Election Day, a bug-sniffing dog walked through Reynolds and identified three "hot spots" on the third floor - a locker and two classrooms, Burkholder said.

That evening, a pest-control company sprayed those areas. Since then, the district has not found evidence of bedbugs at Reynolds or at any other school, Burkholder said.

She emphasized that there's only so much school officials can do to combat infestations when they originate at home.

"We must collaborate with families to address the issue at home in order for it to be resolved," Burkholder said.

Bedbugs are not a health risk, as they are not known to spread disease, but their bites can be itchy.

About the size of an apple seed, bedbugs feed on blood, usually at night, and generally appear red. They tend to live in cracks in furniture, floors and walls.

In a letter sent home to Reynolds parents, SDL urged them to watch for clusters of bites, usually in a line, on exposed areas of the body. The bites do not itch at first but may become swollen and itchy, much like a mosquito bite.

Reports of bedbug infestations have increased in recent years, especially in urban areas. Researchers attribute the rise to an increase in international travel - the insects often hide in luggage - the reduced use of pesticides in homes and the increased "urbanization" of society, with more people living closer together.